Rise in drug-resistant bacteria seen in gay and bisexual men

Tue. March 7, 2023 8:31 AM by GoPride.com News Staff

the shigella bacteria is spread through contact with feces

photo credit // cdc / stephanie rossow

Drug-resistant stomach bug Shigella on the rise, CDC warns

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning of a rise in a strain of a drug-resistant bacteria called Shigella.

While the stomach bug generally affects young children, the CDC says it has started to see more of the antimicrobial-resistant infections in adult populations – especially in gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM), people experiencing homelessness, international travelers and people living with HIV.

Shigella bacteria causes fever, diarrhea and stomach pain. Since 2015, officials have noted a rise in cases linked to the drug-resistant strain.

The inability to treat infections with medication led health officials to call it a "serious public health threat".

Without effective treatment, it could cause severe illness or even death.

“Given these potentially serious public health concerns, CDC asks healthcare professionals to be vigilant about suspecting and reporting cases of XDR Shigella infection to their local or state health department and educating patients and communities at increased risk about prevention and transmission,” the advisory said.

Shigella spreads "easily" through direct and surface contact with an infected person's feces, according to the CDC. It can lead to a form of dysentery named shigellosis, which is considered one of the leading causes of death linked to diarrhea around the world.

Nationwide, there are nearly 3 million antimicrobial-resistant infections each year, and more than 35,000 people die as a result, according to the CDC.